Project SEED: Supporting a Dynamic STEM Education Experience

Project SEED just wrapped up its 50th year of helping young students explore their scientific curiosity. As a winner of the AstraZeneca Health and Science Innovation Challenge, this program was awarded $8,500 to support a hands-on summer research experience for four students. Since its inception, Project SEED has offered high school students from economically disadvantaged families the opportunity to experience what it’s like to be a chemist. Each year, hundreds of volunteer scientists around the country contribute their time to mentor students in academic, industrial or government laboratories. They encourage students to learn new skills, gain confidence in their potential for higher education, explore new career paths, and begin to think of themselves as scientists.



The success of the program has been tremendous. Since 1968, Project SEED has changed the lives of more than 11,000 students in more than 100 communities from 39 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico. 70% of participants have been from racial and ethnic minority families, and 60% have been female. SEED has been nationally recognized – both for being a best-practice STEM program, and for its success in improving access to science education for members of underrepresented minority groups. Additionally, it has made a huge impact in participants’ lives, jumpstarting their interests and giving them a foundation to pursue further education or careers in science.

Rocío del Mar Avilés-Mercado started her experience with Project SEED back in 2016 when she began researching proteins involved in regulating disease. She now continues that work as a molecular and cellular biology student at the University of Puerto Rico, Río Piedras. Recently, she was named a 2019 Three Dot Dash Global Teen Leader by the We Are Family Foundation. Selected from hundreds of applicants, these 33 leaders are addressing the world’s most pressing issues. “This achievement is undoubtedly an extension of my SEED experience, which started me on my journey,” Rocio says.


At the ACS national meeting in August, Rocío helped lead a program for donors with Nobel Laureate Sir Fraser Stoddart, who served as champion of the 50 Forward campaign for Project SEED. 

Project SEED is a philanthropic program run by the American Chemical Society (ACS), the world's largest scientific society and one of the world's leading sources of authoritative scientific information. An important part of the Society’s mission is developing the next generation of scientific talent in the chemical enterprise.

The Health and Science Innovation Challenge is AstraZeneca’s annual call for applications where our application is open to NPOs across the United States. Submitted applications must either present a new approach, tool or technology to solve a health challenge, or support STEM education in K-12 or undergraduate students. The link to submit an application can be found here from July 1-July 31, 2019. If you have any questions, please contact